Vendor returns to the Iowa State Fair 22 years after her parents' murders
This isn’t Jada Smith’s first time making funnel cakes at the Iowa State Fair, but it is the first time she's been back since the unthinkable happened 22 years ago.
“Sometimes I can talk about it and not cry but obviously this week is going to be emotional," said Smith, tears swelling in her eyes.
On August 121996, then-Jada Blewer was just 16 years old when working at her family’s funnel cake stand at the Iowa State Fair when her parents, Bobie and Marilyn Blewer, were found shot dead in their camper on the fairgrounds.
Her sister and brother-in-law Jamie and Rodney Borushaski are serving life sentences for hiring friend Jerimy Sneed to kill the Blewers and rob them of thousands of dollars. Sneed is also serving a life sentence in federal prison.
Smith took over the family concession business, which is now called Jada Concessions. She'd been serving funnel cakes at fairs all across the Midwest for two decades before returning to the place haunted by her parents' murders.
"I think yesterday it hit me. Wow I’m really back at the state fair. But I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Smith said the Iowa State Fair holds too many memories --good and bad --- for her to ever forget the history she has there. She is committed to carrying on her parents' legacy.
“I want to do this for my mom and dad and carry on their tradition. I think they would be proud," Smith said, who now lives in Spencer.
The outpouring of support from fairgoers and fair staff has made coming back so much easier, Smith said.
“I just want to thank the state of Iowa for all of the support. It’s been amazing."
The Iowa State Fair is open now through August 19.